Sidhu Council launches three-pronged assault on Democracy tonight.


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It’s important to remember that AT LEAST TWO MEMBERS of the new Anaheim Council have always opposed our beloved democratic reform of district elections, indeed they squandered $3 MILLION of your money and mine in a losing legal battle to prevent them from happening – that’s New Mayor Harry Sidhu and his sidekick pro-tem Lucille Kring.  (Along with former members Kris Murray and Gail Eastman.)

Two of their more newly-elected allies, Steve Faessel and Trevor O’Neil, elected under that system, I don’t remember having a position on it.  And I hope they think more originally and critically tonight when it comes to item 29 – that would be so refreshing.  But on almost every other matter I remember those two voting lockstep on the same side as Lucille, Harry, Kris and Gail, so it’s hard to be hopeful.

(As I’ve detailed at length, the record of Democrat Jordan Brandman on districting is much more mixed and ambiguous, but as the lone Democrat on a 5-2 majority, it frequently won’t matter much how he votes – he “gets a pass.”)

Cuz what they’re proposing with #29 tonight is a partial castration of districting – taking away a councilperson’s ability to freely appoint people to Boards and Commissions by requiring majority approval of any appointment.  This is unmistakably their first step in removing the appointees of Jose Moreno and Denise Barnes, appointees whom they find troublesome with the points they make and also possible future rivals – Planning Commissioners Steve White and John Armstrong, as well as Benita Gagne, Ed Lopez and Mark Daniels – commissioners who were going to be in the minority anyway, but now must be gotten rid of.

I have yet to hear Sidhu’s justification for this anti-democratic move – probably something mealy-mouthed about “togetherness” – but let’s show up and do our best to talk Steve, Trevor, and Jordan out of this.  It’s not a good look to be sabotaging district elections.

And that’s not all!

Meet Item 28.  First, December 18’s meeting – the first regular meeting under Sidhu – was not that rowdy at all.  The main issue discussed that night was the Rainbow Flag, which most audience members supported and which won a majority on council.  But people clapped a little after especially good speeches.  And every time, our new grimacing Mayor would lecture us “DO NOT CLAP.”  And what do you think happened, we clapped even more!  Seated next to him, tiny Lucille nearly rose out of her seat to back him up.  “DO NOT CLAP.  THIS IS A BUSINESS MEETING.”  Huh?  How is a meeting about hoisting a Rainbow Flag “business?”

For years now Anaheim Council meetings have been slightly rowdy affairs, and apparently during those years Harry sat at home sullenly watching and grumbling that he’d like to do something about it.  Well, tonight he’s going to try.  (And then afterward we’ll see if his measure stands up in court.)  Harry proposes to: 

  • Instruct persons in the audience to refrain from disruptive behavior including ‘making loud noises, clapping, booing, hissing, or engaging in any other activity in a manner that disturbs, disrupts or impedes the orderly conduct of the meeting.’ 
  • REQUIRE SPEAKER CARDS – never a requirement before – and they must be turned in by an hour before the meeting (4pm) which will also be a new hardship. 
  • Shorten speaking time in a way that I can’t really understand from the staff report, but obviously the intent is to make it harder for the public to communicate.  (And there’s more.)

How is Mayor Sidhu going to deal with my FIRST MUSICAL COMMENT ABOUT HIM?  (Not written yet.)  Kris and Lucille used to squeal for me to stop, but Tom Tait would laugh “This is Vern’s free speech!”  How will Mayor Sidhu deal with Fitzgerald’s frequent obscenities, or Reverend Cecil’s increasingly colorful presentations, or the Tales of Bryan Kaye?

Citizens and residents of the area, it feels like time to push the limit.

Oh and Then…

We knew this was coming, and we knew we were being had, when just before the election, when Harry’s race was looking tight, the Angels’ billionaire owner Arte Moreno announced he was pulling out of his contract with Anaheim.  And WITHIN MINUTES Harry was out telling us if we elected him Mayor he would “DO ANYTHING” to keep the Angels in this town!

We were hoping voters didn’t fall for that, but enough of them did. Five years ago this klepto crowd was proposing to (practically) give away the stadium lot to Arte for 60-something years, and also gave him a few years lease extension.  TONIGHT HARRY WANTS TO ADD ANOTHER YEAR TO THAT LEASE EXTENSION IN THE DESPERATE HOPES ARTE WILL STAY, while he figures out what the hell else he can give him to keep him here. 

Ryan wrote about it here.

And now Klepto-scribe Matt Cunningham has a new piece purporting to ridicule us for “hysteria” over the move.  There’s plenty of nonsense and bullshit to respond to in  Matt’s piece, which I’ll get to soon – time to get ready for the meeting!

 


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.